Status: Common winter visitor to wetlands throughout Ireland from September and April
Conservation Concern: Amber-listed in Ireland as the majority winter at less than ten sites. The European population is regarded as Secure.
Identification: Medium sized, with large rounded head, small bill and pointed tail. Male - head and neck chestnut, with creamy-yellow crown and forehead. Breast pinkish-grey, and the rest of the body is grey and white with black stern. Female rufous brown or greyish with various mottling. Speculum dull, dark.
Similar Species: Other duck species.
Call: Loud whistling note.
Diet: Wigeon graze on coastal seagrass and algae, particularly on Zostera spp. and Enteromorpha spp., and also feed regularly on grasslands and cereal crops.
Breeding: Breed on shallow freshwater marshes, or under tussocks adjacent to lakes and lagoons, or on lake islands.
Wintering: Widespread - they occur on coastal marshes, freshwater and brackish lagoons, estuaries, bays. Many on inland wetlands, lakes, rivers and turloughs. The Icelandic breeding component of this population winters mostly in Ireland and western Britain, though some continue on to parts of continental Europe.
Where to See: Lough Foyle in County Derry, Little Brosna Callows in County Offaly, Castlemaine Harbour & Rossbehy in County Kerry, Shannon & Fergus Estuary in County Clare and Tacumshin Lake in County Wexford are among the top sites (5,000-9,000 birds).
Monitored by: Irish Wetland Bird Survey (I-WeBS).